Zim­bab­weans in city hope­ful but ap­pre­hen­sive on eve of poll

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - LUKE FOLB

MIL­LIONS of Zim­bab­weans head to the polls to­mor­row in what will be the coun­try’s first gen­eral elec­tion since former pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe was ousted in a soft coup in Novem­ber.

Zim­bab­weans liv­ing in Cape Town are op­ti­mistic and hope­ful of change but say they re­main con­cerned over is­sues of free and fair elec­tions and are ap­pre­hen­sive about re­turn­ing to the coun­try too quickly.

The Zim­babwe So­ci­ety at the Univer­sity of Cape Town has been ro­bustly de­bat­ing the out­comes of the elec­tion re­cently and mem­ber Nyasha Nhamo says the coun­try has al­ready changed and will con­tinue on a pos­i­tive tra­jec­tory.

“Since the change in lead­er­ship last year it has changed al­ready be­cause we see how the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is re­spond­ing and it seems like there is a fu­ture even be­fore the elec­tion has hap­pened.

“It’s a tricky equa­tion as its dif­fi­cult to tell at the mo­ment as the op­po­si­tion are sus­pect­ing that the cur­rent gov­ern­ment is try­ing to rig the elec­tions.

“I would go back to Zim­babwe even in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion if the cur­rent gov­ern­ment wins.”

Afro­barom­e­ter, a panAfrican in­de­pen­dent re­search net­work that mea­sures pub­lic at­ti­tude on eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal and so­cial is­sues, have placed the gov­ern­ing Zanu-PF at 40% and the op­po­si­tion MDC Al­liance at 37%, with 20% say­ing they wouldn’t vote and 3% for other par­ties.

Unisa in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions stu­dent Bathromeu Mavhura, who has lived in Cape Town since 2009, said this in­di­cated it would be a close elec­tion.

“This elec­tion is very tricky be­cause peo­ple thought that when Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa came in he would be just as cruel as Mu­gabe but he has tried his best to reach out to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity and Zim­bab­weans abroad. He seems to be try­ing to rec­tify the mis­steps of the past.”

“I would per­son­ally vote for change and would love to re­turn to con­trib­ute to the growth of my coun­try,” he said.

Bay Kambi, who has been in Cape Town since 2007 and works as a sec­re­tary in the city, says she would vote for the op­po­si­tion MDC Al­liance but can­not re­turn to Zim­babwe at present.

She said she was con­cerned about Mnan­gagwa win­ning.

“He was there be­fore as vice-pres­i­dent and why didn’t he make changes then?” she asked.

Her col­league Tayt, who pre­ferred not to give her sur­name, said: “I’d like some­one young with fresh brains to come in, some­one like Nel­son Chamisa from the MDC, who has been in pol­i­tics for­ever but is young.”

PIC­TURE: EPA/ AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Zanu-PF sup­port­ers cel­e­brate and dance at a party rally at the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium in Harare yes­ter­day. Zim­bab­weans go to the polls to­mor­row.

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